What brought me into History: By Adam Sparks

From 1999 to 2001, at the ages of 10 to 12, I resided along with my parents in history.  The house we lived in was located just outside of the historic village of Granville Ohio.  I will not state the exact address to spare the current owner any embarrassment from what I will later state in this post.  The large four bedroom two story house was built in 1824 and was a part of the historic Underground Railroad that went through the community.  The community Granville is filled with homes similar in erection dates, and similar histories.  Additions to our home were made in the 1960s which added a larger master bedroom, a ballroom, and a second dining section.  Erected next to the house on the seven acre lot was a large barn that was similar to the size of the house and built at the time of the house’s original erection.

In a closet, on the second floor of our house, there was a hidden door that opened up to a much larger area where I perceive to this day was a location where escaping slaves would have possibly hid from the slave holding southerners who would travel north to recapture their perceived property.  Other hiding spaces were hidden throughout the estate.  The home still held a strong 19th century spirit, from the ability to see logs from the original trees that were cleared for the house in 1824, to untouched architecture in the original wing of the home.  The three fireplaces and wood-burning stove were still used at times when the central heat was not strong enough against the harsh Ohio winters.

My bedroom, the original master upstairs bedroom, was only modified with the incorporation electricity and air vents, addition of carpet, and restoration of the paint.  There was still not a ceiling light, as I was required to have floor lamps in the large room where the very abolitionists in the 19th century slept. The various original windows, doors, walls, ceilings, doorways, fireplaces, trees were as it was when the very abolitionists walked, ate, spoke, and lived in that house.  To me, when the power went out, the house came alive.  We were then able to live as they did 176 years before us.  Candles, no central air, no electronically made sounds; just the sounds of the house gave us entertainment.

The barn was another area of great entertainment growing up.  Playing with my cousins in the hay lofts and around the untouched structure allowed my imagination to flow.  Both the home and the barn had a massive impact on my childhood, although I had just lived there for a couple of years.  The beauty of the area and the rich history of the home were lost when we had to move to Oklahoma.  As a child, and through my teen years, I held little respect for the history around me at our new home.  Lately I have been completely fascinated with the history there as well.  But my desires still remain to this day to return to Ohio.  People call me crazy, but I am still in love with that region, with the history, and with other non-historic factors that I find joy in (especially the cooler weather).

Another factor that contributes to my desire of preservation takes me back to the house just outside of Granville that we left in the spring of 2001.  Unfortunately the residents that moved into the home after we left brought the home into a state of chaos.  With no respect to the historic value, the house seems junked.  The white paint on the fenses has deteriorated, the barn seems ruined, and the once peaceful property is full of junk.  The calmness and serenity of the house is gone, and it cries for restoration and a return back to the way we had it some 11 years ago.  My family doesn’t understand my emotional attachment to this one house, yet it is still there.  I feel for those in the community that have to see this piece of history deteriorate.  I hope that one day, someone will take it in and restore it, yet I am not optimistic at this point.  I have had dreams that I would inherit a large sum of money, then travel back to Granville, and save that estate from extinction.  Yet those dreams are just dreams, and time is of the essence.  As the year pass, the deterioration continues, and soon that house may disappear along with the history inside of it.

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